US-donated Covid vaccines roll out to littlest kids of Nepal


June 23, 2022


US-donated Covid vaccines roll out to littlest kids of Nepal

Students at Aadarsha Secondary School in Sanothimi on Thursday.

KATHMANDU: Nepal has begun inoculating children against COVID-19, thanks to pediatric vaccines received from the United States (U.S.) through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative.

The Government of Nepal formally launched the landmark campaign of vaccinating children, aged 5-11, through 1,300 vaccination centers across the country, on Thursday.

The landmark campaign comes after Nepal received approximately 2.2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on June 19 with U.S. assistance through COVAX.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will provide protection to around 3.9 million Nepali children falling in the 5-11 age group when the vaccination campaign concludes.

The campaign is being run in two phases: the first phase, starting today till June 29, will follow the second phase, from July 18 to 24.

Health workers registering the names of children for vaccination at Aadarsha Secondary School in Sanothimi, Bhaktapur.

Vaccination is being conducted in 27 districts of Nepal’s 77 districts for effective management in the first phase. The second phase will expand the vaccination drive to the remaining 50 districts.

Government schools in the 27 districts selected in the first phase successfully administered vaccines to children on Thursday in the presence of parents, local representatives and health officials.

Officials from U.S. Embassy,  United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Health Organization (WHO), local representatives, among others, also inspected the vaccination program held at Aadarsha Secondary School in Sanothimi, Bhaktapur, today.

USAID Mission Director Sepideh Keyvanshad (L) along with a school girl and her parent at the school.

During the visit, USAID Mission Director Sepideh Keyvanshad expressed happiness over the vaccination program at the school aimed at shielding children from the COVID-19 disease.

“It is great to be here in Adarsha Secondary School and interact with students, teachers since USAID helped rebuilt this school after 2015 earthquake,” she said.

“As I understand, after the school was rebuilt, the number of students has nearly doubled and it certainly is good news,” she added.

Interestingly, the school had been founded in 2024 BS with the U.S. assistance.

English teacher at the school Tanka Nath Acharya confirmed USAID Mission Director Keyvanshad’s tentative understanding regarding the number of students.

“Prior to the earthquake, there there were about 700 students in the school. Now, the number of students is about 1,200 to 1,300 ,” he said.

WHO Medical Officer Dr Vinod Kumar Bura interacts with children in a classroom.

Meanwhile, the school informed that as many 188 students between the age of 5 and 11 received vaccine shots  today.

Janaki Malla, a primary level teacher at the school, expressed gratitude for continuous U.S. support to the school.  She attributed the disable-friendly infrastructure at the school to the U.S. support.

Classroom infrastructure at the school.

The recently donated 2.2 million doses of pediatric vaccines add to the 2.26 million doses of Pfizer adult vaccines, and the 1.5 million single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines that the U.S. has donated to Nepal so far.

Aadarsha Secondary School premises.

“The United States’ historic support for Nepal’s health sector reflects the powerful results of our partnership. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the United States government has worked directly with the Government of Nepal to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, ensure the continuity of critical health services, and support the country in mitigating the pandemic’s secondary social and economic impact – particularly on education and livelihoods,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement earlier.

“In preparation for the launch of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine campaign, USAID supported Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population to train frontline health workers in 56 districts on the administration of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine,” the statement added.